Minnesota Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo Fired


Mike Yeo is out as Head Coach of the Minnesota Wild after five seasons.  Iowa’s John Torchetti will move up to be the Interim Head Coach.

Very few teams in the NHL have had the stability that the Minnesota Wild have enjoyed at Head Coach with Mike Yeo at the helm for the last five years.  Yeo was the fifth-longest tenured coach in the league with a record of 173-132-44, and his Wild teams have made the playoffs three out of four previous seasons.  Looks like the resume of a coach who has all the job security he needs, right?  Wrong!  The Wild made the decision final wasting no time making the move to fire Yeo Saturday night.

As we all well know, the Minnesota Wild are in the midst of a meltdown of epic proportions.  After eight straight losses including another overtime loss to Dallas on Tuesday night, and the debacle that was the Saturday afternoon tilt with the Bruins.  The organization decided to stop just blaming the players and take a good look at the coach.  Sure the players are to blame for this skid, but whose job is it to get them motivated to play?  To give them the plays and game plan to win?

The facts are clear Mike Yeo, and his staff made a hard go of it.  The Power Play numbers of 17.8% and an Overtime and Shootout record of 1-10 show that something more than player effort is hurting the team right now.  These stats didn’t grow out of January and February; they have been since the beginning of the seasons more of the canary in the coal mine showing that bad times could be on the way.  The coaches have seen these issues and been unable to solve them.

Yeo was out of ideas and was grasping at any way to get the team back on track.  He uncharacteristically healthy scratched Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker against St. Louis on last Saturday and had even taken to writing motivational quotes in the locker room.  The players didn’t respond. 

Chuck Fletcher a week ago in St. Louis tried to make it clear that he stood by Yeo, and Fletcher was not being one to make rash decisions with the future of the team just to have success now made it seem like the coach was safe for at least a little while.

 It was reported that Fletcher stormed out of his press box after Saturday’s game and that owner Craig Leipold did the same.  There’s only so much the front office could take, and apparently they had seen enough of Yeo.  It’s sad because I think both of them believed in Yeo, but they had to make a move.   

The fans voices crying out for a change were perhaps the loudest of all.  According to a poll Thursday on Star Tribune.com 65% of almost 4,500 people polled said Mike Yeo should be fired.  That might be the biggest indicator of what the people of the Twin Cities thought of the product that Mike Yeo and his coaches are put on the ice.

You can blame the players, and they might well be the culprits in this utter collapse.  They did let their coach down, and he paid the price for their lack of focus and drive.  I’m sure that Yeo tried to get through to them, but they didn’t listen.  Yeo could have had better plays drawn up for them.  He could have made fierier speeches, but if you watched the lack of focus in the Boston game you have to know the players for whatever reason didn’t execute and made mistakes that led to the loss.   

Next: The Reason Behind the Scoring Woes

The future starts now with Minnesota Wild Interim Head Coach John Torchetti taking over.  We all know he’s not likely going to be the permanent answer, so what are Chuck Fletcher and the players going to do?  Do they right this ship or go down with it?    For now, let’s just see if they can beat the Canucks on Monday.